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Honey Bees


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For those who may have been interested in the Hornets thread a few weeks ago, a further development.

Our French neighbour 'prepares' the house for the other Belgian neighbours who come down to their place regularly in the Summer months. Widowed 65yo ariving Sunday with her friend Sunday. Large swarm of bees removed by a beekeeper 3 wks ago.

Jacqueline calls across to me this afternoon - "Another swarm !!"

Sure enough, same again. Ground floor, different window, this time. Not so big, maybe 50% of the size, but big enough.

M. Dupre on his way tomorrow.

If you want honey, come to the Gard !!! 

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It happens from time to time that following a primary swarm, (with the old queen), a colony will produce a second and sometimes third swarm with virgin queens. These will often end up in a similar area to the primary, possibly as a result of the pheromones left behind.

These smaller swarms are often so weak numerically that they can struggle to survive, especially in poor weather or if there isn't enough of a season left to increase their numbers sufficiently before autumn. They will also struggle to defend themselves against invaders.

Chris

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Monsieur Dupre duly arrived on Friday morning and was shown in to the house by OH (I was in the village for bread etc).

She nearly had a coronary when he went straight to the window, opened up and unhinged the shutters. It was the 1st time that she had seen either of the swarms, so glad to see him shut the windows pdq. Swarm removed to the hive and left to settle down for the day.  He came back at 21.00, but decided that they were too 'disorientated' to be moved. Left them till last night when he came back to pick them up.

He told me that this year has been very busy - swarms everywhere.

That's it now, had enough - no more this year, I hope.  

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No, I don't think that we can conclude that this is a recovery of the bee population, in fact I don't think that one persons opinion on there being "swarms everywhere this year" is remotely scientific, there are swarms every year - that's normal. It has however been a good spring for bees in that it has been very dry since the catkins flowered and there has been an abundance of blossom and flowers on all the trees ever since which means that colonies that did survive the winter safely built up their numbers rapidly leading to an early start to the swarming season, the first ones that I knew of were in April. You could speculate all manner of things, such as the fact that the dry spring resulted in less fungicides being sprayed on the crops - oilseed rape for example.

Chris

 

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Am following this with great interest as we spoke to our local beekeeper and asked if we could have a hive in the garden. He arrived last week with a new hive so now we just await some bees looking for a new home !! All new to us. He is always happy to find a new place to place is free hives especially if you have a garden with no pesticides. He has placed near our chestnut tree and it seems it has to be in a sunny spot. Isn't nature wonderful !! I just hope he does not offer us some honey as I do not like too much the honey here. Love heather honey and the honey we had in New Zealand was to die for. Not clear and runny please !
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[quote user="chris pp"]

I don't think that one persons opinion on there being "swarms everywhere this year" is remotely scientific[/quote]

Steady on Chris, or I'll put the rotund but solid M.Dupre on to you!

Seriously though, loads more catkins off the oak trees this year (any connection?)  I also sense (rather than know) that there's been less spraying of the vines hereabouts.  Whatever, it's a complicated but fascinating story.

The Belgian neighbours arrived for their hols a couple of hours ago and I haven't heard any screams from that direction - neither I nor our Fr neighbours have told them about the very latest episode. Best left for a few days methinks.  

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